Social Workers Registration Act 2003

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry of Social Development

Version as at 12 April 2022

Coat of Arms of New Zealand

Social Workers Registration Act 2003

Public Act
2003 No 17
Date of assent
9 April 2003
see section 2

The Parliamentary Counsel Office has made editorial and format changes to this version using the powers under subpart 2 of Part 3 of the Legislation Act 2019.

Note 4 at the end of this version provides a list of the amendments included in it.

This Act is administered by the Ministry of Social Development.


4ATransitional, savings, and related provisions
5Act binds the Crown
5ABoard to determine scopes of practice for social work profession
5BPrescribed qualifications
5CProvisions relating to sections 5A and 5B
6AAUnregistered person must not claim to be social worker
6AABKey requirements for practising as social worker
6Entitlement of New Zealand-qualified applicants to registration within scope of practice
7Entitlement of overseas-qualified applicants to registration within scope of practice
8Applications for registration and authorisation to practise within scope of practice of social work profession
8ABoard may authorise individual scope of practice for applicant or change to individual scope of practice for social worker
8BContents of authorisation of individual scope of practice
8CAssessment of social workers practising under supervision
8DBoard may require applicant to take and pass examination or assessment
8EBoard must inform applicant that it proposes to depart from indicated scope of practice or to decline application
8FDecisions of Board on registration
8GDecisions of Board on change to individual scope of practice
8HBoard may adopt general conditions
9Consideration of applications by Board [Repealed]
10Provisional registration
11Temporary registration
12Criteria for full registration [Repealed]
13Board may recognise practical experience in certain cases
14Criteria for provisional registration
15Criteria for temporary registration
16Applications by certain people previously registered
17Board to give reasons [Repealed]
18Registrar to register successful applicants [Repealed]
19Registrar to notify unsuccessful applicants [Repealed]
20Certificates of registration
21Surrender of certificate of registration
22Renewal of limited registration
23Criteria for renewal of limited registration
24Cancellation of limited registration
25Practising registered social workers to hold practising certificates [Repealed]
26Applications for practising certificates
27Effect of making compliant application
28Issue of practising certificates
29Board may adopt general conditions [Repealed]
30Restrictions on issue of practising certificates
31Board to consider certain applications
32Procedure for consideration
33Decisions of Board as to practising certificates
34Currency of practising certificates
35Conditions on practising certificates [Repealed]
35AScope of practice must be endorsed on practising certificates
36Surrender of practising certificates
37Interim practising certificates
38Competence to practise as a social worker
38AProfessional development for practising social workers
38BMandatory requirement for employers to report to Board if social worker believed not to be competent
39Reviews of competence to practise as a social worker
40Form of review
41Actions after review of competence
42Competence assessments
43Copies of competence assessments to be available
44Registered social workers to complete assessments every 5 years [Repealed]
45Actions if social worker fails assessment
46Confidentiality of information
47Fitness to practise as a social worker
47AMandatory requirement for employers to report serious misconduct allegations to Board
48Consideration of fitness to practise as a social worker
49Action if Board considers social worker not fit and proper
50Board to ask for Police vet, and consider convictions and other information
51Reporting of conditions affecting ability to practise as a social worker
52Power to seek medical advice
53Report to be put before chairperson
54Interim suspensions [Repealed]
55Power to order medical examination
56Conduct and consequences of examination
57Individual scope of practice may be changed or registration or practising certificate may be suspended because of mental or physical condition
57AInterim suspension of registration or practising certificate or both or change to individual scope of practice
57BNotice of direction under section 57A to be given to social worker
58Revocation of suspension or change to individual scope of practice
58AConditions on revocation of suspension of registration or practising certificate
59Complaints against social workers
60Registrar to notify Board of complaints
61Registrar to notify Health and Disability Commissioner of certain complaints
62Health and Disability Commissioner may notify Board of complaints
63Notification of convictions
64Suspension of action while Health and Disability Commissioner investigates
65Referral of complaints to professional conduct committees
65AAction to be taken by Board on receipt of notice of conviction
66Professional conduct committees
67Committees may regulate own procedure
68Committees may appoint legal advisers
68APower to call for information or things
68BCompliance with production notice
69Information to be given to social worker and complainant
70Social workers and complainants may request changes in membership of professional conduct committee
71Determination of complaint or notice of conviction by professional conduct committee
72Procedure after committee makes determination (other than to take no further action)
72ABoard’s consideration of committee recommendation for resolving complaint
73Conciliation and mediation
74Committee may recommend suspension of registration or practising certificate or imposition of conditions
75Laying of charge before Tribunal
76Notice of disciplinary proceedings to be given to social worker
77Interim suspension of registration or practising certificate or imposition of conditions on practice
78Social worker may apply for revocation of direction
79Hearings of Tribunal to be public
80Special protection for certain witnesses
81Application for revocation of order under section 79
82Grounds on which Tribunal may make order
84Orders as to restoration of registration
85Orders of Tribunal
87Recovery of fines and costs
88Rights of appeal
89Notice of right of appeal
90Orders to have effect pending determination of appeal
91Procedure on appeal
92Court’s decision final
93Court may refer matter back for reconsideration
94Orders as to costs
95Orders as to publication of names
96Appeal on question of law
97Social Workers Registration Board established
98Powers of Board [Repealed]
99Functions of Board
100Obligations of Board in relation to Māori
101Obtaining views of ethnic and cultural groups
102Restriction on Ministerial direction
103Other provisions relating to requirements [Repealed]
104Review of operation of Act
105Code of conduct
107Additional information in annual report
108Board may set fees
109Disciplinary levy
110Further provisions relating to fees and levy
111Application of income [Repealed]
112Directions and resolutions to be in writing [Repealed]
113Other provisions relating to Board
114Social Workers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal established
115Function of Tribunal
116Membership of Tribunal
117Suitability of certain people to be appointed
118Removal of members
119Hearings by Tribunal
120Other provisions relating to Tribunal
121Register of social workers
122Register to be maintained in parts
123Information to be registered
124Certificates of registered information
125Social workers to notify changes to personal information on Register
126Changes of name [Repealed]
127Social worker may ask for registration to be cancelled
128Entry to be cancelled on death of social worker
129Revision of Register
130Restoration of entries
131Review of registration of overseas qualified person
132Cancellation of registration on Board’s direction
133Removal of qualifications, or cancellation of registration, overseas
134Cancellation or suspension not to affect existing liabilities
135Board to publish Register
136Inspection of Register
137Board to appoint Registrar
138Registrar to comply with directions of Board
139Registrar may refuse to act if fine or costs outstanding, or fee not paid
140Notice of conditions in individual scope of practice
141Certificate of Registrar to be evidence
142Board may withhold information in certain circumstances
143Immunity of members and legal advisers of professional conduct committees and other from civil liability to third parties
144Proceedings not invalid because of defect in appointment
145Notice and service of documents
146Publication of orders
147APower to obtain information
148AFailure by employer to report to Board not offence
149Consequential amendments